Who are we? What is this site?

We’re a group of teachers who meet about once a month in Bern, Switzerland. We’ve also developed a peer observation process for teachers. During group meetings, we come with an idea we want to share, or a question we want to ask and try to touch on all the topics. After meetings, we’ll post an update here.

The peer observations take place in the classroom. It’s a process aimed at providing professional development to teachers, and is an opportunity to grow professionally in a mutually beneficial, friendly and inclusive learning environment.

The idea is to share information and start discussions–not to pretend we have all the answers! It’s also a time to meet people and relax. We want to learn more about all aspects of teaching, and this site is part of that journey. Check the calendar below for the date of the next meeting, then check the blog closer to the date to find out the topic and what material we will be discussing.

You can also add ELT Springboard to your own calendar by clicking this link.

Get in touch with Ben or Dave if you want to join us!


Working for washback

How much do you test, evaluate, or assess your students? Is it formal or informal? If you teach an exam preparation course or a course in which students receive a grade, what effect does having exams have in the learning process? If you don’t teach a course with formal exams, do you use other forms of evaluation or assessment?

Before you come to the next Springboard get-together, have a look at this section of this text, the section titled, “How can we promote beneficial washback?”, written by a researcher out of the Monterrey Institute of International studies, about Washback. If you don’t know what washback is, read more from the whole text here.
Help us answer these questions and  build your professional value as a teacher!
Come to the next Springboard get-together on Thursday 23rd February at 20:00 at The Fitting Room Restaurant in Welle 7, just next to the Bern main station. Or follow the blog, by clicking on the gear wheel at the top of the page.

24 January–New Year, New Ideas

Happy New Year to you all! Our next ELT Springboard meeting will be on 24 January in The Fitting Room (in Welle 7, adjacent to the Bern bahnhof). I look forward to seeing you there! The evening’s topic will be New Ideas. Please RSVP in the comments so I know how many people to expect.

Task 1 is for you to bring in one or two new ideas that you would like to introduce to your professional practice in the new year. We’ll discuss the ideas with each other and hopefully we’ll be able to talk about them with someone who’s done something similar or can help us find resources to ease the way. By talking about them with others, we’ll also build accountability and have someone to follow up with later in the year.

Task 2 is to give a short report on some professional development that you have done recently. This can be anything from reading a book or attending a webinar to taking a course or doing a degree. There is a great professional development opportunity in Zurich on 21-22 of January: the ETAS (English Teachers Association of Switzerland) Annual Conference. Plenaries from Sarah Mercer and Jeremy Harmer on Saturday; Herbert Puchta and Carole Robinson on Sunday. Click here to read the programme and click here to learn more about ETAS. I’ll be going both days and I plan to talk about one of the speakers or workshops at the ELT Springboard meetup.

If you’re taking the train on Saturday morning, get in touch and we’ll ride together! Otherwise, see you on the 24th!

Reflecting on reflective teaching

The last gathering of Springboard teachers was another success! Teachers from a variety of contexts talked about how they reflect on their teaching, the methods they use to gather data, and how they use that data to improve what they’re doing.

Nick brought with him a resource about action research, something valuable not just to teachers, but applicable to  people in other professions and endeavors. Thanks again Nick!

It introduces the power of systematic reflection on your practice. It’s an easy to use process that can lead to perpetual improvement.

If you’ve got more ideas for how to get student feedback (like what questions you should ask on a survey), using self-reflection tools (like a diary or digital note-keeper), or how best to set the framework for peer observations, drop a comment below!

As a side note, I’d like to say a big thank you to the very friendly staff at our venue, The Fitting Room, for their great service! Without them Springboard get-togethers would not be the same!

Free TELC examiner training 28 January 2017

There are some limited places available at the TELC examiner training event which will take place in Fribourg from 10:00-18:00 on 28 January. The School of Management Fribourg (Haute Ecole Gestion/Hochschule für Wirtschaft) is training me and some of the other teachers to be TELC examiners. There are extra places available and our English language TELC coordinator, Marc Matter, has kindly opened them up to other teachers. If you attend the training, not only will you be eligible to assist us in Fribourg when we test our students, but you will also be able to complete the TELC examiner training at any other level just by completing an online supplemental module.

Here are the prerequisites and requirements:

Experience teaching English at levels A2, B1, B2 and C1 (a total of at least 450 lessons) and at least a C1 level of competence in English, familiarity with exam formats (find examples here:  http://www.telc.net/pruefungsteilnehmende/ sprachpruefungen.html<http://www.telc.net/pruefungsteilnehmende/sprachpruefungen.html>  ), familiarity with telc’s rules and regulations for examinations: http://www.telc.net/agbpruefungsordnung. html<http://www.telc.net/agbpruefungsordnung.html>, familiarity with the GER and activity/action-oriented approaches.

All participants are required to have worked through the corresponding online module dual-level examiner training prior to the training day. Furthermore, those examiners who have never had a telc examiner license are also strongly advised to work through the A1 to C2 Introduction for examiners. These online modules are available at https://campus.telc. net/?lang=en<https://campus.telc.net/?lang=en> . If you have never participated in a telc training session, you have to register to use these online modules (“register now”).

Please inquire directly with our TELC coordinator by 22 December if you are interested. In the interest of protecting him from spam, I don’t want to post his email address here. Instead, I ask you to visit the directory page at HEG Fribourg and use the link under his name, Markus Matter.